Now when Moses went into the tent of meeting to speak with [God],
he heard the voice speaking to him from above the mercy seat
that was on the ark of the testimony,
from between the two cherubim,
so He spoke to Him (Numbers 7:89 NASB).
In our familiarity with Scripture and our distance from the actual events, we can lose the magnitude of what the Bible is saying to us.
Pause and read again the single verse above. In fact, read it several times, and ask the God of the universe to help you see what actually occurred. And then, read it again and again, asking God what this means for you.
Let this one verse of Spirit-breathed Scripture, active and alive, explode in your understanding. Hear His voice to you behind the printed words.
We Can Approach God
“Moses went into the tent of meeting to speak with Him,” the Bible tells us. Why was the tabernacle also called the tent of meeting? It was not a meeting with the congregation. It was a meeting place between God and man.
This is so clear, that Moses went to this place for that singular purpose: “to speak with Him.” Think of this. Since the Garden, God has made it possible for us to walk with Him in the cool of the day and commune with Him.
All through the Old Testament record, we see this continual exchange between God and man. Abraham heard God’s voice, as did Moses, Joshua, David, Elijah and Elisha and all the prophets.
A teenager named Mary and her fiancé, Joseph, both heard Him, as did Peter, and later Paul. All the way to John in the book that is named for such communion (the Revelation), which says to us, “Hear what the Spirit says to the churches” (2:6, 11, 17, 29).
Scan the whole counsel of Scripture, and realize that it’s a running record of communication. God speaks, and we can hear Him speak! And in His voice, we hear all we need for direction, comfort, encouragement, life, and light.
At the Mercy Seat
It is no accident that Moses was directed to one place where this communication happened. The mercy seat represented the action that must take place for us to approach God. It spoke of the great Sacrifice that would provide for our continual communion, and a place where God would extend His grace for us to approach Him.
Later, the writer of Hebrews would remind us of our great High Priest, who bids us “draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16).
This should humble us. We do not come in arrogance, but in quiet confidence in Christ’s atonement for our sin and His gracious invitation for us to approach our Father. We can enter even now into the tent of meeting and hear His voice. We can even pray without ceasing.
And Wait for His Voice
Later in this account, we see Moses, as others approach him for direction, making these kinds of statements: “‘Wait, and I will listen to what the LORD will command concerning you.’ Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying,…” (Numbers 9:8-9).
This is a picture of our posture. We are to approach and listen. We are to wait on Him and move only at His initiation and instruction. We are to hear Him and be careful, like Joshua, to do all that He says, not turning to the left or to the right from His instruction (Joshua 1:7).
If He finds us listening, we will find Him speaking. Then we will have the glorious privilege of being led by the great Shepherd of the sheep. The Lion of the tribe of Judah will go before us.
We will prosper because we are led by the One Who Sees. We will hear a voice behind us saying, “This is the way, walk in it” (Isaiah 30:21).
And the sacred transaction between man and God will occur once again.